Don’t Be Bullied Into Voting!

If you are still undecided on the upcoming election or for whatever reason are not planning on voting for either of the candidates I am sure you have heard the spiel. It usually starts off by explaining to you how democracy works and how it’s your responsibility and even your duty to vote. This is usually accompanied by multiple mentions of blood and sacrifices for more dramatic effect. Then you are presented with a short description of each candidate: one may be old, greedy, sold out, rich, decrepit, traitor, out-of-touch, demented, erratic, unfamiliar with the world map, racist, sexist, cheater, more of the same, etc; the other one is inexperienced, Muslim, Osama, Hussein, black, racist, elitist, liberal, tax-and-spend, community organizer, radical, friend of terrorists, etc.  Next you will hear about the scary stuff: vote for one and your daughter will die from illegal abortion, Brown will be repealed, Declaration of Independence will be thrown out and we will submit to the crown; vote for the other and your daughter will have to wear a burqa, your check will be deposited straight into the IRS and terrorists will win. Then another reminder of your sacred duty to vote with a hint that only an idiot will vote for the other candidate, you don’t want to be that idiot, do you?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard and read plenty of similar calls for action. No one explained to me so far why I should vote for their candidate. Yes, I said their because I don’t have one of mine. What if you have, as a well-informed citizen, decided that neither candidate is good for the country? What if you you feel that you are being pushed for yet another vote for “the lesser of two evils”? What if you can intelligently argue your point? Does it make you any less of a citizen, or just a less gullible one?

People died for democracy and your right to vote but did they really want you to vote for the candidate you don’t care about, just to scribble a check-mark in the “I voted” column. Your vote for the unacceptable (to you) candidate only validates the election system which with every cycle spits out two of the most grotesque personalities with no solid plan for the country, knowing that you will be a good citizen and vote for one or the other. “More of the same” or “Change we can believe in” seems to be the choice. What if I don’t want more of the same but don’t believe in this particular kind of change? And even if I did, what if I don’t think your candidate can carry it out?

I think that a no vote is a valid vote. It’s a vote for a better candidate. It’s a demand to stop forcing me to vote for mediocrity. It’s a vote of protest. It’s a vote to stop treating me like a moron, with stupid soundbites like “change” and “American hero”, hoping that I will not pay attention to the rest. It’s a vote to let me make up my own mind and do what I feel is the best for the country.

By the way, I didn’t know someone was assaulting “Brown”; in a country where 20% of the military is black it doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. As for “Roe v Wade”, for all the ridiculousness of the idea of repealing it, it may happen, in which case I see the states asserting their rights (10th Amendment). That’s what the people died for – for the Country, for the Constitution, not for the misguided discharge of your duty to vote.

  • “I think that a no vote is a valid vote….”

    Not it’s not. It’s not a vote at all. It is apathetic silence that influences no one in any way. You become a non-person. If you don’t vote, you don’t exist and your opinion means nothing.

    “It’s a vote for a better candidate. It’s a demand to stop forcing me to vote for mediocrity. It’s a vote of protest. It’s a vote to stop treating me like a moron, with stupid soundbites like “change” and “American hero”, hoping that I will not pay attention to the rest. It’s a vote to let me make up my own mind and do what I feel is the best for the country.”

    Again, no, it really isn’t. It is none of those things.

    No one cares about the opinion of anyone who doesn’t vote. It may be a protest to you. To everyone else, it is empty space. It is static in the signal.

    There must be a reason you choose to live here instead of your native country.

    I encourage you to participate. I know you have strong opinions. VOTE!

    You will get a lot more bang for your buck in the voting booth than you will on blogger.com.

  • Chimpo

    People have not been voting for quite a while. The world keeps turning. Actually protesting is a vote of protest. Sitting alone and talking about how you’re going to take your vote and go home is just worthless.

  • “People have not been voting for quite a while. The world keeps turning. Actually protesting is a vote of protest. ”

    If you want to silence your voice and let vocal people like me step in and vote in your absence, I’m all OK with that.

    Better that people like me should rule the world than people like you, right?

    Why should you have any voice in the way things are run?

    By all means, sit back and “protest” by doing nothing.

  • Burrowowl

    I think it’s important for people in “swing states,” by which I mean states where an individual vote may actually help swing things one way or another (as opposed to California, which will be giving all its electoral votes to Obama regardless of… anything) to not vote unless you have a pretty well-formed opinion on the matter.

    Of course, I’d much rather see the cynics that think all politicians are the just just right in and run for office instead. If you don’t think you can fix things by voting, maybe it’s a good idea to fix things by… fixing things. City council, school board, whatever. Go for it.

    One lazily-cast idiotic vote could send things in a very bad direction. By a very bad direction this time I specifically mean putting a deluded angry old man in charge of our military in an age when our military commanders have every expectation that they are allowed to wage war without congressional mandate. I still feel that if you don’t count, but if you don’t really want things to go the way you’re voting, please do the rest of us a favor and stay home on election day. We don’t need you to count. Just try not to feel too hypocritical when you end up voting for yourself.

  • I agree with Burrowowl on this one… a poorly-informed voter who votes based on who they’d like to drink with rather than issues is far worse than someone who doesn’t vote at all. That’s how we get GW for 2 terms….

  • Cara

    I go to the polling place every election, but I don’t necessarily vote.

    Let me explain:

    I go to the polls to honor the women who made it possible for me to vote and as a show of protest against the people who prevent women from voting elsewhere. In the US women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920. (1920!) All over the world, women still aren’t allowed to vote. (Call it schmatlzy, but seeing the blue fingers of the Afghan women who never had a chance to vote until recently makes me tear up a little.)

    If I am not as informed as I believe I should be on a given issue, or if I really don’t give a damn about the issue, I won’t vote on that question – better to let those who have a stake make that decision. If I don’t favor any of the candidates listed, I write in the name of the person I would support. (Colin Powell and Joe Libermann will likely be getting my votes this year.) I don’t care if it is statistical static, it’s who I want for president and vice president.

  • travel

    It isn’t just a presidential election. I’m going to specifically vote against the 75 million dollar school bond issue before us this election. We’re already paying for 3 bonds and have the highest taxes in the state of Kansas. Enough is Enough!

    As for President, I’m underwhelmed. They’re both lying to us. We lost the best candidates on both sides. I don’t know if I can vote for one of them this time. I may write somebody in which is essentially a non-vote. Doesn’t matter in Ks anyhow.